Repairs to the historic Plaka Bridge connecting the villages of Tzoumerka and Kastanochoria over the River Arachthos in northwestern Greece have been completed, five years after it collapsed.
The bridge is “ready and being tested in the toughest winter conditions before being opened to the public after the summer,” the coordinator of the restoration effort, National Technical University of Athens professor Dimitris Kaliambakos, told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) on Tuesday.
The 19th century single-arched footbridge bridge is the biggest of its kind in the Balkans and the third biggest in Europe. It was destroyed on February 1, 2015, during a flood caused by heavy rainfall.
Describing the project as the “biggest restoration of a stone bridge in the world,” Kaliambakos said the effort was led by 30 academics and 40 researchers, as well as dozens of engineers and workers on the ground. “More than 300 people had a hand in it,” he said.
Kaliambakos said that no modern techniques or material were employed in the restoration, which loyally followed the steps of the bridge’s original architect and builder, Kostas Bekas, in 1866.
The result, he added, “is a bridge that is much more than a twin of the original; it is a bridge with the same DNA.”